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ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA (BNO NEWS) — U.S. evangelist Billy Graham was released from a hospital in North Carolina Tuesday after being hospitalized for several days for treatment of a bronchial infection, his spokesman said, adding that he is in good health and good spirits.

The well-known 93-year-old evangelist was admitted to Mission Hospital in Asheville on early Sunday morning and administered antibiotics after developing a pulmonary infection which turned out to be bronchitis. He returned to his home in Montreat on Tuesday afternoon after responding well to treatment.

“His treatment for bronchial infection was prompt and successful and he is feeling much better today,” the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) said in a statement. “Mr. Graham will require some days of rest and recuperation at home before returning completely to his usual routine.”

Graham’s spokesman, A. Larry Ross, said the evangelist kept his routine while at Mission Hospital and interacted with family and medical staff. “Billy Graham’s pulmonologist said he had a quick recovery and responded well to treatment and, despite the illness, is a remarkably healthy 93-year-old,” Ross said.

As he departed Mission Hospital, Graham commended the doctors and nurses at the facility for their care during his stay. “Mission Hospital’s dedicated professionals administered prompt treatment to restore my health and allow me to return home quickly,” Graham said. He also expressed gratitude for the prayers and letters he received from people around the world.

Graham was previously hospitalized for successful treatment of pneumonia in November 2011. His staff said he has been in overall good health since his release, though he mostly remains at his home in Montreat due to his old age. Nonetheless, he is still actively involved in his ministry and is working on a new book summarizing his Gospel message over the past seven decades of public ministry.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info:

ASHEVILLE, NORTH CAROLINA (BNO NEWS) — U.S. evangelist Billy Graham was taken to a hospital in North Carolina Sunday for a pulmonary infection thought to be bronchitis, doctors said, adding that he is alert and resting comfortably.

Pulmonologist David Pucci said the well-known evangelist was admitted to Mission Hospital in Asheville on early Sunday morning and is being administered antibiotics after developing a ‘slight fever’ overnight. “Bill Graham remains vibrant, alert and in good spirits with no fever after admission to Mission Hospital,” his spokesman A. Larry Ross said. “Doctors are encouraged.”

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) said Graham, 93, watched a televised service at his home church, the First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, on Sunday and later enjoyed a visit from his daughter, Gigi, and one of his grandchildren. “They ate lunch together and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon,” BGEA said in a statement.

On early Monday, Ross said Graham had rested well during his first night at Mission Hospital and was up having breakfast. “Billy Graham watched the Olympic closing ceremony Sunday night, prompting fond memories of crusades he held in both London and Rio over 70 years,” he added.

Graham was previously hospitalized for successful treatment of pneumonia in November 2011. His staff said he has been in overall good health since his release, though he mostly remained at his home in Montreat due to his old age. Nonetheless, he is still actively involved in his ministry and is working on a new book summarizing his Gospel message over the past seven decades of public ministry.

(Copyright 2012 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info:

MANTEO, NORTH CAROLINA (BNO NEWS) — American actor Andy Griffith, who is perhaps best remembered for his portrayal of a small-town sheriff on the 1960s television series ‘The Andy Griffith Show’, died at his North Carolina home on early Tuesday morning. He was 86.

Griffith died at around 7 a.m. local time at his home in the town of Manteo on Roanoke Island in North Carolina, Dare County Sheriff J.D. Doughtie said. He died as a result of an illness, his family said, without elaborating. His wife Cindi was at his side when he passed away.

“Andy was a person of incredibly strong Christian faith and was prepared for the day he would be called Home to his Lord,” Cindi said. “He is the love of my life, my constant companion, my partner, and my best friend. I cannot imagine life without Andy, but I take comfort and strength in God’s Grace and in the knowledge that Andy is at peace and with God.”

Griffith was laid to rest within several hours on Roanoke Island.

Born in Mount Airy, North Carolina, Griffith is probably best remembered for his role as the widowed sheriff Andy Taylor on ‘The Andy Griffith Show,’ which ran from 1960 to 1968. He also starred in the hit TV show ‘Matlock,’ from the mid-1980s to the early 90s, as the criminal defense attorney Ben Matlock.

Griffith initially wanted to be an opera singer as well as a preacher and received a Grammy Award late in his career for Best Southern, Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album in 1997. In 2005, he also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from U.S. President George W. Bush.

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FRANKLIN, North Carolina (BNO NEWS) — A small business jet carrying three people crashed at an airport in western North Carolina on early Thursday afternoon, local and federal officials said. The conditions of those on board was not immediately known.

The accident happened at about 1:36 p.m. local time when a Cessna Citation 501 aircraft crashed in a corn field at the end of the runway at Macon County Airport, which is located about three miles (five kilometers) northwest of Franklin, causing a fire at the scene.

Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), said the aircraft was carrying a total of three people and suffered ‘substantial’ damage. Photos from the scene showed the entire aircraft was completely engulfed in flames, leaving only a small field of debris.

Franklin Fire & Rescue officials said the fire was quickly extinguished, but it was not immediately known if anyone survived. The Western Carolinas Region of the American Red Cross said its volunteers were responding to the airport. “Initial services to be provided are mental health along with canteen services,” a statement said.

According to flight records, the business jet was registered to an individual in Venice, but Bergen would not confirm specific details about the aircraft. “We are not confirming tail numbers until we know the conditions of the three persons on board,” Bergen said. “If they are fatalities, then we will wait until next of kin are notified before we confirm.”

Both the FAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate the cause of the accident.

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STAR, NORTH CAROLINA (BNO NEWS) — Three people were killed on early Friday morning when a gunman opened fire at his co-workers in North Carolina, officials said. The gunmen died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound on early Saturday.

The shooting happened just before 6:15 a.m. local time on Friday when a 50-year-old employee walked into a warehouse at a lumber business in the town of Star, which is located in Montgomery County. About 20 people were working at the warehouse at the time.

“Upon the entry into the warehouse, Montgomery County deputies located three deceased bodies. Another injured victim was located near the warehouse,” said Sheriff Dempsey Owens. The injured victim was later airlifted to a trauma center in a critical condition.

Deputies later learned that the suspect, who was identified as Ronald Dean Davis, had left the premises and was possibly en-route to his home which is north of Star in the unincorporated community of Ether. A response team quickly responded to his residence.

“Deputies knocked on the door but with no reply,” Owens said. “One of the team members observed, through the window, that Mr. Davis was sitting on the couch with his head hung down. The deputies made entry into the residence and found Mr. Davis with a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound to his head.”

When officers entered the residence, they also found a gun on the couch next to Davis. “Mr. Davis was still breathing and EMS (emergency medical services) transported him to Firsthealth Montgomery here in Troy. He was later flown out by air ambulance to a trauma center.”

On early Saturday morning, Davis died of his severe injuries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Medical Center, according to Owens. The injured victim is believed to remain in a critical condition from a single gunshot wound.

Few details about the possible motive behind the shooting were immediately released, but Owens said it was possible that Davis was being harassed at work. The victims appeared to have been the target as others were not attacked. Both the victims and Davis were employed at the lumber company.

“Upon further investigation in the residence, the deputies located a six-page, handwritten note that was located beside him,” Owens said, without releasing any of the contents. “It’s really lengthy, it goes into some details about some things. But it rambles on pretty much.”

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NEW YORK (BNO NEWS) — Hurricane Irene is estimated to have caused between $200 million and $400 million in insured losses in the Carolinas, catastrophe modeling company EQECAT reported on Sunday. More serious damage is expected in other areas along the U.S. East Coast.

The center of Irene made landfall on Saturday at about 7.30 a.m. local time near Cape Lookout on the Atlantic coast of North Carolina. It had maximum sustained winds near 85 miles (140 kilometers) per hour, and higher gusts, making it a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale of intensity.

EQECAT, in a preliminary assessment, estimated that insured losses in North and South Carolina are expected to range from $200 million to $400 million. “Although Irene was a Category 1 hurricane at landfall, the sheer size of this storm has caused severe damage from storm surge and flooding,” the company said.

Hundreds of thousands of people lost power in North Carolina due to damaged distribution lines, primarily caused by fallen trees and debris. Irene also produced heavier than initially expected rain totals, and coastal areas experienced 6 to 10 feet (1.8 to 3 meters) in storm surge.

“The estimated insured loss from this event for South Carolina and North Carolina is expected to range from $200 [million] to $400 million USD, with the bulk of the losses in North Carolina,” EQECAT said in its preliminary assessment. “Strong winds and rain are expected to continue causing damage to Virginia and states further north.”

EQECAT warned that, even though the system weakened to a tropical storm on Sunday morning, Irene remains a very dangerous storm which has ‘significant’ potential to cause damage and injuries. The catastrophe modeling company expects damage in New York City and New England’s urban area to be more severe than in the Carolinas.

“The speed and size of Irene translates to extended durations of strong winds and debris; experience from Hurricane Ike (2008) reminds us that high-rise buildings pose significant vulnerability to damage from wind and debris, and the New England urban area has a large population of high-rise buildings that will be exposed to very strong winds,” the company said. “It is very likely that a landfall of Tropical Storm Irene in New York will result in larger damages and losses than those seen in North Carolina.”

It added: “The coincidence of a new moon (stronger tidal variation) during Irene will exacerbate flood and surge, and water heights may be 5 to 8 feet (1.5 to 2.4 meters) higher than normal close to New York City.”

In addition to damage, Irene also resulted in the deaths of at least four people in North Carolina alone, including a 15-year-old girl. The total death toll along the U.S. East Coast as of Sunday morning was nine.

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MIAMI (BNO NEWS) — The center of Hurricane Irene made landfall in North Carolina on early Saturday morning, forecasters said. Three storm-related fatalities have so far been reported.

Irene made landfall at about 7.30 a.m. local time near Cape Lookout on the Atlantic coast of North Carolina with maximum sustained winds around 85 miles (140 kilometers) per hour, and higher gusts. Despite its interaction with land, Irene maintained its strength as it moves towards the north-northeast.

As of 2 p.m. EDT (1800 GMT), the center of Irene was located about 45 miles (70 kilometers) west-northwest of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina. “Irene should continue to move north-northeastward between a mid-level ridge over the east-central Atlantic and a trough passing over the Great Lakes Region,” said Daniel Brown, a senior hurricane specialist at the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC).

“Irene is forecast to gradually weaken as it moves along the East Coast of the United States due to land interaction, dry air entrainment, and increasing southwesterly shear,” Brown said. Irene is expected to approach New York on early Sunday morning, and Maine by SUnday evening.

“If the center of Irene moves more over land than forecast during the next 12 to 24 hours, it could be slightly weaker than predicted,” Brown said. “Whether Irene is a strong tropical storm or hurricane over New England will make little difference in the expected impacts of damaging winds, a dangerous storm surge, and flooding rains.”

As of Saturday afternoon, officials in North Carolina reported that three storm-related fatalities had been reported in the state. One person died on Friday evening of a heart attack as he was trying to board up his home. Two others were killed on Saturday, one in a road accident and another when a tree crushed him to death.

More than 160,000 power outages have been reported in North Carolina, and that number is expected to increase throughout Saturday as the storm moves through. “Today the threat is wind, rain and storm surge. Tomorrow and Monday we have potential for flooding along some of our inland rivers,” said North Carolina governor Bev Perdue.

In North Carolina, 81 shelters are open in 29 counties housing approximately 7,500 evacuees. Many others have evacuated and went to friends or family.

In Virginia, Norfolk Fire-Rescue swimmers rescued two people and a cat after their 30-foot (9-meter) sailing vessel ran aground off Ocean View Beach. There were no injuries.

In preparation for the storm, U.S. President Barack Obama previously signed emergency declarations for North Carolina, New York, Virginia, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Maryland.

Irene is the ninth named storm and the first hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season. It was followed by Tropical Depression Ten which remains active in the far eastern Atlantic, but poses no threat to land.

According to figures released earlier this month, NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is expecting an above-normal hurricane season in the Atlantic this year. The outlook calls for 14 to 19 named storms, with seven to ten becoming hurricanes and three to five expected to become a major hurricane (category 3 or higher).

An average Atlantic hurricane season produces 11 named storms, with six becoming hurricanes and two becoming major hurricanes. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30, with peak activity in September.

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CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA (BNO NEWS) — Bank of America Corp. is cutting at least 3,500 jobs by the end of next month as part of a major restructuring effort which could see as many as 10,000 job cuts, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday.

The report, citing people familiar with the situation, said the 3,500 positions to be cut this quarter are spread across the bank, including investment banking and trading. It said some employees have already been notified.

But thousands more could be laid off at the Unites States’ largest bank by assets as part of an aggressive and major restructuring plan. Executives at the bank are still discussing the total number of job cuts, but one source told the newspaper that at least 10,000 jobs are likely to be eliminated.

Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, is seeking to reduce the bank’s expenses by as much as $1.5 billion per quarter. “I know it is tough to have to manage through reductions,” Moynihan said in a memo to top managers on Thursday night, according to the Journal. “But we owe it to our customers and our shareholders to remain competitive, efficient and manage our expenses carefully.”

The Bank of America, which was founded in 1904 and has relationships with nearly all U.S. Fortune 500 companies, did not immediately comment on the report. The Wall Street Journal said a final decision about the number of job cuts is not expected until early next month.

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ALAMANCE COUNTY, NORTH CAROLINA (BNO NEWS) — The pilot of a stolen plane which crashed in North Carolina on Tuesday is still missing, as local authorities continue their search, officials said Tuesday night.

The Piper Aircraft fixed-wing single engine aircraft was stolen on late Monday night at Horace Williams Airport, which is located near Chapel Hill in North Carolina and is owned by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The aircraft crashed at around 7 a.m. local time on Tuesday within the property of the Alamance Wildlife Club, according to the Burlington Times News.

The Alamance County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case while a North Carolina State Highway Patrol helicopter landed near the crash site to assist. After analyzing a blood trail left at the site, local authorities believe the pilot of the aircraft was able to escape out of the front window, crawl onto the wing, and go into the woods.

The area was cordoned off and authorities used bloodhounds to try and locate the missing pilot, which has been identified although no name has been released. Officials believe the plane crashed because it ran out of fuel since there was no significant fuel spill at the site.

The North Carolina Civil Air Patrol was alerted to the crash by the Air Force Rescue Coordination Center, which is located at Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. The search and rescue satellite detected the plane’s distress beacon, which automatically goes off when a certain amount of force is detected as in a plane accident.

The aircraft, which is registered to LFW Investments LLC, is owned by Larry Warren, who said that the plane was still at the airport between 8 and 9 p.m. local time on Monday. The aircraft is not likely to be removed from the woods until later this week.

FAA investigators have arrived at the scene to continue the investigation into the cause of the accident.

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CHARLOTTE, NORTH CAROLINA (BNO NEWS) — A disturbing case has shocked North Carolina where a mother has been arrested on allegations that she sexually abused her one-year-old daughter and then allowed a friend she met online to do the same, police said on Saturday.

35-year-old Darlene, whose last name is being withheld from this report to protect the identity of the victim, was arrested on Tuesday at her apartment in Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina. It followed an investigation in February when she was investigated for child pornography.

According to a search warrant, Darlene is alleged to have sexually abused her daughter on multiple occasions since she was born last year. Last month, the document alleges, Darlene met 41-year-old Vincent McDougald on a website which is devoted to bondage, discipline and sadism.

“The chats .. were of a sexual nature and progressed to McDougald traveling to her residence to have sex with both she and her daughter,” the search warrant alleges. McDougald is reportedly from Laurinburg, a city in Scotland County, North Carolina.

Police believe that both Darlene and McDougald sexually abused the victim during their meeting and are now facing scores of charges which include rape. McDougald was also arrested, and the child is now with her grandfather.

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